An Underworld Excursion: A “Rothana” review

An Underworld Excursion: A “Rothana” review

Hi, guys!

So, I initially planned on doing this a couple of days ago.

But, as we know, life, even for a Planner-type (J types tend to be more plan-oriented), can toss unexpected things in your direction.

So after getting off my Grisha high from this week (no jurda parem required– and trust me, I was on Cloud 9), I naturally crashed like a plane onto a landing strip with no one to guide it in, and plunged into a mood of gloom and despair (which will continue to remain until this Saturday). We’ve reached January, that’s the first step with King of Scars. Step no. 2 consists of waiting til the 20’s part of the month, then, finally… THE 29th!!!! (For those unaware, that is the KoS release date. Not that I’m getting my copy then– already preordered two copies, in two different KoS boxes, so they’ll take a bit longer to arrive. I know, I know, I need serious help… )

But I’m getting off topic here; this isn’t the only reason I started this post. You see, as an official Author Bugger (read: I pester authors. If I’m blessed enough, they actually do respond. Which has surprisingly been fairly frequent, haha… It’s a matter of asking/saying the right things, and interacting appropriately 😉 ), I don’t JUST bother Leigh Bardugo, I bother multiple authors, indie and NYT bestseller alike– and, as mentioned previously, I both befriended and bug author buddy Sarah Delena White (who I would love to have on here again for a one-on-one interview…) a great deal, especially this past year, about her newest book in the Star-Fae Trilogy, Rothana. I was honored enough to receive an ARC and even a vague mention at her acknowledgements of being one of the “impatient readers” (LOL!), as well as a signed preordered copy from her (with a beautiful message from my favorite Star-Fae 😉 ). That being said, I almost liked Rothana better than Halayda, so I’m going to go into a somewhat detailed (and slightly spoilery– be warned) and unorthodoxish description of what I loved and what could have been improved.

*SPOILERS AHEAD– PERUSE AT YOUR OWN RISK*

What I LOVED:

  1. The backstories are more in-depth. I can’t go into great detail, mind, because MAJOR spoilers, BUT I will say that almost everyone’s backstories are explored in further detail– even those you may not expect. 😉 Not everyone is who they APPEAR to be, for multiple characters. It was a lot of fun, seeing Sylvie, Casimir, and Diza all interact that way. There’s a huge theme of FAMILY in this book, and I love it dearly. I particularly squealed very, very hard at all the Dizamir interactions…. 😉 😉
  2. SECRET CONSPIRACIES!!! We ALL love ’em, and there’s a pretty huge one close to the middle-endish section. Secret rebellions. Secret possible bad guys. A part at the end that will literally have you at the edge of your seat, like, “Oh. No. They’re walking stright into *SPOILERS*. CAN’T THEY SEE THEY’LL–” Everything. Just… EVERYTHING.
  3. MORE AWESOME STAR-FAE— SIDIKA GETS A BF?! (Kinda. LOL.) We learn more about the Star-Fae, and a newer addition to the cast particularly intrigues me… that “mysterious stranger”…. hahahaha…. 😉 Let’s just say I’ve been awaiting an INFJ-INTJ pairing for too long!

samclaflin

Sam Claflin, who Sarah would probably pick to play the “mysterious stranger”

What could’ve been improved:

  1. The beginning set-up could’ve been a bit less predictable. Granted, I don’t think that Sarah INTENDED it that way, but still, it’s a recurring pattern– characters go to a festival, one royal, one “commoner”. Something bad/tragic happens, and Taylan and Sylvie are wrenched away from each other. Taylan broods in his moodiness; Sylvie goes into self-pity mode and both need to kinda be slapped into some sense. Sylvie meets a dark creature/character who most find frightening but she finds to be sweet; she helps them, which helps her get back to/find Taylan. Reunited with their pals, they defeat the bad guy (temporarily). I mean, sometimes it’s told in a different way, but the pattern’s pretty consistent. Here’s to hoping book 3 will break the mold! *clinks glass*

SylvieandTaylan

Sylvie and Taylan, wife and husband, holding each other. 

2. The whole monarch switcheroo thing was confusing, and could have been explained better. First, Sylvie’s the queen. She goes through almost literal h-e-double toothpicks to receive it, unintentionally (not literal h-e-double toothpicks in Halayda, but she and Taylan DO in Rothana). Then, suddenly, at the beginning of Rothana, she’s not. ZAD eventually becomes monarch, because apparently Faerie is fickle and incredibly moody on who the crap sits on that golden– and greatly coveted– throne. I was just pretty confused in general about that, and unless it’s like GoT (which I neither watch nor have read), it probably could’ve been explained better.

3. Lack of aesthetic scenes.  Just a more minor complaint– I feel like Halayda had more aesthetic scenes, including Wellspring, Casimir’s golden garden, Sirugan’s cloud, Taylan’s palace/enchanted wood nearby, Sylvie’s home for abandoned, half-fae orphans, the Blood City place thingy, etc. The only really aesthetic scene I can recall in Rothana is the area where Sylvie’s in the underworld and soon after meets *SPOILERS* in said area. I do think the underworld was described well, and a bit more of the College of Alchemy, but that was probably it. That being said, there was more character building via backstories, so that compensated somewhat for the lack of vibrant, well-detailed places.

 

LivforGod’s Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Character development was beautiful and more poignant in this second installment, more chuckles, and loved certain bonding moments and/or interactions. This was definitely the highlight of the book, along with the secret conspiracy stuff. 😉 However, there were a few things that could have been clarified a touch more, or seemed too rushed at times.

Nevertheless, it still sits in the leagues of one of my top fave fave series, and I eagerly await the third installment!

 

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Pic creds:

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/a-life-in-the-day-sam-claflin-9bsthv26z

Sylvie and Taylan

https://jmhackman.com/2018/11/30/the-theme-of-rothana-sarah-delana-white/

 

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Netflix and Nichevo’ya: Ruination or Rejuvenation?

Netflix and Nichevo’ya: Ruination or Rejuvenation?

Today, you’re getting a special on me, guys. A two-for-one blogging day special, in fact.

So, in my last post, I talked a bit about how I’d discuss my feelings and fears about the news that the Grishaverse was getting its own Netflix series.  Granted, I think it is good enough, beyond good enough, to be set on screen. But as it is tied for THE top of the top of my fave series of ALL time, I have seriously high expectations for this thing; in fact, when I first got wind of the news (regrettably, right before my work shift started), the excited adrenaline rush everyone else was currently experiencing (some continue to experience it) faded faster for me, because I started worrying my little perfectionistic head over the moon about stuff, shooting my anxiety up tenfold at work, and probably making me seem a bit… tenser. (I mean, I spent an hour alone worried on who they would pick for the Darkling… xD)

In fairness to Grisha Queen Leigh, via her newsletter, I’ve seen she put a LOT of time, effort, and thought into this decision, has had many (probably worse) offers she could’ve taken. But she was told to go with her gut, and go with her gut she did indeed (convincing me further that she is an Intuitive, but another rabbit trail for another day). Netflix is renown for their (fairly accurate) film adaptations, and not responsible (I don’t think, anyways) for the Maximum Ride film adaptation, which I initially feared (they ARE responsible for the adaptation of, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before). It helps that they will be producing multiple episodes of the series, encompassing the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, the Six of Crows duology, and even bits of The Language of Thorns. (REALLY hoping Ulla and the Darkling will get together!)

So, you might be wondering, why exactly am I worried still? Good producers, Leigh’s on the team as an Executive Producer of the show, multiple episodes, more time to divulge precious details… what’s the problem?

A couple of problems, actually.

Problem number one was I was a bit confused by Leigh’s newsletter email– are they making only 8 eps, 8 eps per season (and one season per book..?), or… what? It was a bit vague, so the confusion worried me a lot. (She did, however, reassure us that they would not smash up the timelines, not badly if at all)

I was also worried which details and snark would be included, and which might be excluded. I’m terrified they’ll leave a little, important detail that was in the book outside of the series. I’m scared of who they’ll cast for the characters (please, no Twilight guys or Sean O’Pry for the Darkling…), and get facial, eye or hair details wrong. This is incredibly easy to do, for both things– the Harry Potter movies were somewhat accurate, character-appearance-wise, but details-wise, left out a SLEW of things. Dobby and Kreacher are briefly touched on, for instance, but no mention of elf rights or poor, sad little Winky. The opposite is a bit true in The Hunger Games movies– they chose a 30-something actress to portray a 16 year-old, but stuck to the majority of details and plotline in the books. The Divergent series, in movie form, violated both of these– Tris is described as blonde-haired AND KINDA PLAIN (then we get the very physically attractive Shailene Woodley. Because Hollywood.). The first movie in and of itself is fine, but so much detail of Insurgent and Allegiant is drastically altered from the books– likely to please the fans. This irks me to no uncertain bounds. There is a certain integrity even in entertainment, certain boundaries that shouldn’t be crossed, and drastic alteration from the book or the story’s moral of the story are two of them. Mind, these are also not personal criticisms against actors and actresses who act well, I’m simply pointing out they might not be the best fit for that character. 

Lastly, I am terrified that this is either going to end up like the infamous, The Last Airbender (a movie adaptation of ATLA, one that we do not speak of), and/or newbies who have not read the books and only want to watch the movies/series will delve in with little idea of what they’re watching. Worst of all, I’m terrified of it somehow, some way, going bad and the movie/TV/Netflix ONLY people like it, praise it, and are still clueless about the books. My perfectionist reader brain would be ringing like OFF THE HOOK if that were the case. I can only hope (and pray) that both it and the newer, live action series version of Avatar: The Last Airbender (out Fall 2019) do their originals supreme justice when both hit Netflix officially.

To sum: I want to believe in this, I think it has a LOT of potential to be good, to be REALLY good, but am terrified because of the above reasons. I am scared filmmakers and scriptwriters are going to try to mess with Leigh’s story, majorly, in a bad way. My consolation is that Leigh used to work in the film/movie make-up biz, so she kinda already has a gist of how it should go. I can only pray this all comes out in an awesome bundle of awesome way.

prayergif

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Pic/GIF creds:

Prayer GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

http://www.grishaverse.com/extras/grishaverse-downloads/

 

Conversing with Lord Casimir: An EXCLUSIVE Rothana Tour Interview

Conversing with Lord Casimir: An EXCLUSIVE Rothana Tour Interview

So, I know I’ve teased this for part of November. Tormented you guys on Instagram and even Facebook about this. And God only knows the literally countless amount of times I’ve pestered Ms. Sarah Delena White herself about it, on messenger, for at least a few years, maybe even more. 😉 (Hey, an Author Bugger’s gotta do her job. And we did become good friends through my pestering, so it WAS worth it. Love you, Sarah!)

Casimir3

Casimir is a star-fae and an alchemist. His abilities include, but are not limited to, illusion-making, light-generation, weapons made of starlight, mesmerism, and of course alchemy.

And my efforts have not been in vain. The favorite minion, head of Tribe Minion, has finally come through, bearing great fruit of great joy from great labors.

Today, my Casimirian brothers and sisters of Casimir’s Minion Tribe, I get to interview our beloved Lord Casimir, himself, in celebration of his new role in Sarah’s sequel to Halayda, Rothana. That’s right–this interview is the next pivotal stop on the Rothana Blog Tour, in celebration for its new release!

To that end, I have compiled several imperative questions months and months in advance, to prepare for this highly anticipated moment in history. Welcome, Lord Casimir. Your minions anxiously have awaited your glorious presence. Please, have a seat in one of the most comfortable, most luxurious chairs we possess.

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L4G: First, a bit of an icebreaker (though you may despise trivial talk). As some of us have seen from the #1randomquestion posts that Sarah’s been sharing, one of your hobbies (aside from scheming and alchemy, of course) is insect collecting. Why did you start this hobby? Do you collect specific insects, or just dragonflies?

Lord Casimir: “I collect insects of all sorts, though dragonflies are particularly interesting. I enjoy studying them and organizing them into ornate displays on the walls of my laboratories. It’s one of the few activities I find relaxing, as it doesn’t require strategy or foresight or dealing with anyone’s emotions. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for dealing with Faerie’s Dragonfly.”

L4G: *nods sympathetically* I daresay she likes to make things quite challenging for your plans, but we’ll discuss her more in a bit. Judging from your infamous speeches, you’ve garnered quite a bit of philosophical wisdom over time. Who is your favorite fae or mortal philosopher, and why?

Lord Casimir: “I have little time for philosophers these days. While I once found their discussions interesting, I’ve seen too many of them come and go, and watched the world go on unchanged by their debates. For all their fancy words, they often fail to grasp the true nature of reality. Experience and necessity are the only philosophers I have the leisure to heed.”

CoAlibrary

The College of Alchemy–Casimir’s current domain and area of expertise in the mortal city of Sabellyn

L4G: I wonder what the true nature of reality is… I wonder if it has to do with your view of alchemy. How did your interest in alchemy begin, especially since you’re already very clearly skilled in Solasa magic?

Lord Casimir: “I turned to alchemy out of necessity after the rest of the Solasa and I were exiled from Faerie. Fae cannot survive long in the mortal world, with all its iron and smog and little trace of magic. Those of us who could turned to alchemy to bolster our power and help minimize the effects of living in Sabellyn. Soul sense is even rarer among the fae than it is among mortals (yes, contrary to the speculation of mortals, we do have souls). Those of us who have the ability can create powerful potions that are beyond of the capabilities of ordinary alchemists. I eventually used this skill to secure a position in Sabellyn’s upper echelon.”

L4G: Speaking of which, in Sabellyn, there are obviously those with great power and influence. Why choose a college specifically, if you’re aiming for power and overall leadership, rather than a governing position?

Lord Casimir: “What casual observers often fail to realize is that the College of Alchemy is the greatest power in Sabellyn. The Ruling Council is useful, but they’re often mired in debates and formalities. While I could have obtained a seat on the Council, I prefer industry and invention, the true powers that drive the city. As Chancellor of Alchemy, I serve as an advisor to the Ruling Council, which gives me a voice within governing circles without having to be tied to their pettier aspects. It also allows me to keep a lower profile and avoid interacting with members of the fae Court when they visit Sabellyn.”

Sabellyn

Sabellyn– A steampunk mortal city full of innovation, alchemy, slums, and secrets

L4G: …And NOW we circle back to one alchemist in particular, your former prized student, the new Dragonfly. We’ve seen quite a bit of alteration and interaction in your relationship with her, but what is your honest opinion of Sylvie Imanthiya?

Lord Casimir: “She is infuriating. She is a creature of weakness who somehow finds herself at the center of battles. Her idealism is foolish and likely to destroy her. If possible, I would have kept her out of my schemes entirely. She was the last person I wanted involved.”

SylvieandTaylan

Sylvie the Yushara (Dragonfly) with her “Halayda” (husband), Taylan Ashkalabek

L4G: *murmurs to self* (I wonder why the latter is… Guess Rothana will cue us in on the answer… 😉 ) We know that in Halayda, you inspire us by trying to take hold of your own destiny, your own fate, and your own realm. In your ideal, perfect world, what is one other major change you’d make, aside from complete control?

Lord Casimir: “You assume I wish for complete control. What I seek is to right the wrongs that have been done to me, to Kyure, and to fate itself. If that requires taking complete control, so be it, but do not think that that is my chief desire. It would merely be convenient.”

L4G: *grins* I’ll bet it would. Sadly, I think we need to wrap up here, because we do have a time limit… *composes self* Lastly, what advice would you give to someone else who also wishes to forge their own destiny?

Lord Casimir: “Consider the consequences of your choices before you make them. Decide whether you can live with the cost.”

Goldenroses1

Casimir’s illusionary golden garden

Thank you so, so much for joining us today, Lord Casimir!! It has been an incredible privilege and honor in having you on my humble little site today, with your Minion Tribe and Yours Truly. You are truly inspiring. We wish you great success with achieving your goals, and will be there to support you every step of the way!

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Interested in reading more of Casimir and Sylvie’s story? Check out book 1 in the Star-Fae Trilogy by Sarah Delena White!

“Betrayed by a trusted mentor, Sylvie Imanthiya hides on the fringes of society, caring for half-fae orphans and trading her alchemical creations on the black market. She lives for the one night each season when she can see her dearest friend—a man whose destiny is far above hers.

King Taylan Ashkalabek knows better than to exchange halayda vows with a mortal. Even their friendship is a risk; love is an impossible dream. Then a brutal alchemical attack poisons his realm, unearthing a dark power within him—and leaving Sylvie with the ancient mark of Faerie’s savior.

Manifesting unpredictable abilities and aided by allies with their own secrets, Sylvie and Taylan journey into the wilds of Faerie to heal the damage and confront Casimir, an invincible star-fae determined to claim the realm as his own. But only their enemy knows Sylvie’s true capabilities—and Taylan’s weaknesses—and how to use them in his vicious schemes.

Her fate is life. His fate is death. With Faerie in the balance, Sylvie and Taylan must stand together before reality as they know it is destroyed.”

Halayda1

 

And let’s not forget book 2, Rothana

“A new queen falls. A death lord rises. An ancient foe looms in the shadows.

Sylvie Imanthiya is desperate to lead Faerie well and deepen the bond with her husband, former king Taylan Ashkalabek. But all hope of that vanishes when the Winter Solstice ceremony ends in disaster, stranding her and Taylan in the Deathrealm, and stripping the kingdom from her.

With Faerie in chaos, Zad and Diza are separated once again: Zad to reconcile with an old mentor to stabilize the kingdom, and Diza to confront the nefarious Casimir in the mortal realm. But Casimir claims that a greater evil seeks to destroy both realms, an evil that Diza’s unique death magic can hold at bay—if she could only remember how.

In the Deathrealm, Taylan is succumbing to the lure of specters from his past, and pushing away Sylvie’s love. Overwhelmed by decay and darkness, Sylvie must summon unexpected magic from the soul of Kyure to fight for her convictions and her husband’s heart.

Shadows divide them. Their friends are in peril. If Sylvie fails, her marriage and her world will fall.”

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Check out Uncommon Universes Press to order signed copies of both snarky, romantic, fae-and-steampunk-filled books, today!

https://uncommonuniverses.com/books/

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About the author of the Star-Fae Trilogy!

Sarah Delena White

Sarah Delena White was raised by wolves in an alternate dimension. She writes eclectic speculative fiction that reworks mythology with a fine balance of poetry and snark. She’s an experienced world traveler who loves to weave world folklore and ancient concepts into vibrant, original story worlds. She is the administrative manager for Uncommon Universes Press. When she’s not writing, she can be found making elegant designer bead jewelry, traveling to festivals as a professional ballad singer, drinking tea, and seeking to create the perfect latte. She can be bribed with dark chocolate.

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Credits:

Halayda, Rothana, and author pictures and descriptions were all taken from the Uncommon Universes official site, credit goes to them; I OWN NOTHING.

Additional picture credits:

Cover collage pic, top center: Gil-Galad by Kaprriss, Pinterest. 

https://www.deviantart.com/jankalateckova/art/Sylvie-and-Taylan-764908178

hw.kappboom.com

Glorfindel by SaMo-art of Deviantart

Pinterest

http://www.flickr.com

 

 

Olivia’s Fictional “NT List”

Olivia’s Fictional “NT List”

 

OK, I know I’ve talked about this numerous times on social media, and even a bit here. So I figured it’s high-time to grab the bull by the horns, so as to speak, and cut to the chase on that list.

But, before we do, some may ask, “What the heck IS an “NT”?”

Oh, I am so glad you asked. (Refer back to my MBTI posts for more refs, especially my INTJ and INTP posts) NTs are one of the four Meyers-Briggs Personality groups, each with four separate sub-groups. To make this simpler:

NTs: INTJs, ENTJs, ENTPs, INTPs

NFs: INFJs, ENFJs, ENFPs, INFPs

STs: ISTJs, ESTJs, ESTPs, ISTPs

SFs: ISFJs, ESFJs, ESFPs, ISFPs

 

NT types tend to be theoretical, highly intelligent, argumentative/”devil’s advocate”, sometimes neurotic, witty, very sarcastic, but generally pretty loyal at their core, and ultimately idealists and truth-seekers. I tend to be attracted the most to these types more than any other MBTI types, and have the tendency to blame my INFJ-ness on that. I noticed a particular pattern of attractions, whether healthy or unhealthy, in YA fiction, and, upon further investigation, realized it was all within the same MBTI group. And more specifically, there was a VERY large crowd of INTJs (that seems to be popular in YA fantasy and sci-fi. You’ll see why momentarily). So, initially, it was the “xNTJ List,” thanks to a certain indie publishing master who helped coin the phrase for me, 😉  (Why not, “INTJ List”? Casimir, an ENTJ, of course made it.).

But then, stuff happened. And I was made to add a couple of ENTPs (who are quite attractive, btw) to the Precious. Thus making me throw my hands up into the stagnant air of my “cave dwelling” (read: my bedroom, which I seldom leave), and yell, “TO HECK WITH IT,” at my ceiling stickered with wall-puttied plastic glow-in-the-dark celestial bits. And thus, the OFFICIAL “Fictional NT Guys L4G Likes in Most Any Way” was birthed. It was a difficult, trying, but nonetheless beautiful birth.

And now it is here for you to peruse at your leisure, to your enjoyment, to your amusement, or perhaps, to your enrage-ment. I do not pretend to share everyone’s fancies of the ideally-typed mate (I know many prefer Elias… Cough… NF type… Cough…Not that there’s anything WRONG with that, being INFJ myself 😉 Just more into NTs) , nor do I pretend that I’d WANT to actually date many of these characters on this list (or that THEY would want to date ME, for that matter… Just ask their authors. LOL.). This is simply a cataloging of personal favorites, and why I like them so much.

And, as per usual, they WILL be somewhat categorized (me being the J-type planner that I am), but they will be listed in no certain order, i.e., from, “least liked to most liked,” etc. Just a regular listing. 🙂

 

WARNING! THERE WILL BE SPOILERS! NOW IS YOUR LAST CHANCE TO BACK OUT!!!

DISCLAIMER: ALL OPINIONS/INSIGHTS ARE MY OWN. I AM NOT BEING PAID TO ADVERTISE ANY BOOKS, ETC., I LOVE THEM THAT MUCH. MY LIST MAY BE EDITED TO INCLUDE MORE CHARACTERS AS I READ MORE, SO FEEL FREE TO CHECK BACK, IF YOU WANT. 

LIVFORGOD’S FICTIONAL MALE NT LIST:

  1. Casimir

MBTI Type: ENTJ

Series: The Star-Fae Trilogy by Sarah Delena White, including Halayda, and soon-to-be-released Rothana. 

Why He Made the Cut: I can empathize with him, even though we would likely clash IRL. I’m genuinely curious about his past. What happened to him that made him want to change his destiny–along with everyone else’s– so bad? Did he see his, and it was so horrid he became determined to change it? According to his author, he is willing to pursue his ideal and objectives for the betterment of everyone (in his eyes), even while sacrificing his own happiness to achieve it. This makes me saddened, and I want him to have at least some sort of happiness in his life. Even if it be Diza 😉 . Plus, he’s got the very cool, “combine magic with alchemy” thing going on, so there’s that, too. This antag’s got the full support of his favorite minion all the way!

Thurandil

(Yes, IK that is LOTR, but roll with me here– the Star-Fae Trilogy sadly has few, very few, fandom artists…)

2. The Darkling

MBTI Type: INTJ

Series: Both the Shadow and Bone Trilogy and the short story, When Water Sang Fire from The Language of Thorns, by the notorious Leigh Bardugo. Hopefully, more to come… 😉

Why He Made the Cut: Even the author herself has seriously questioned numerous fangirls’ defenses of this guy. My guess on THEIR reasoning is, they like how hot he is, how physically seductive he is. While this played a MINOR factor in my judgement of him, I was seriously impressed by two things– his intellect and his complexity/humanness. Despite him regarding emotions and wanting as weakness (we ALL know that infamous line, c’mon!), as an xNTJ type– we all know he actually has a well-guarded soft side for the Grisha, his people, and for underdogs. He doesn’t open up and show that tertiary Fi too often, but he often takes a personal interest in Alina, her habits, her past, how her day was, if people are picking on her, etc. He personally relates to her, and is shown to respect (even if he sometimes disagrees with) her view in several instances. He even shows a gentler, more sympathetic if defensive/protective side to her, to Genya in The Tailor, and to Sylvi and even Annika in Demon in the Wood. I think, if he hadn’t been driven pride-, ambition-, and power-mad, he genuinely would have been a good person. We see those glimpses of goodness in him– he just doesn’t want to be alone.

The-Grisha-Trilogy-image-the-grisha-trilogy-36707139-245-242

3. Sorek 

MBTI Type: ENTP

Series: The Purification Era Series by Angie Grigaliunas

Why He Made the Cut: OK, initially, with this guy– I was not planning on letting him onto this list. No way, no how. I viewed him as a total BLEEP who deserved to go to you-know-where with what he fake-tried to do to Rab (though I can understand why he did it). But the more I got to know him, the more I thought, “Hey, he’s like a more complex version of Nikolai!” And guess what? It’s true. He may not be a pirate or royalty, but he knows how to chameleon very well, to blend in and act with all of his “peers” at the time– something Bardugo only touches on a few times, and that Angie delves into deeply. His complexity is seriously impressive, and his snarkiness, particularly with his crush Rab, made Nik’s actually look fairly tame– all while having me howling and rolling on the floor, clutching my stomach. He is also secretly VERY compassionate, and goes out of his way to help others if they genuinely need it.

Sorek

4. Hideo Tanaka

MBTI Type: INTJ

Series: Warcross duology by Marie Lu

Why He Made the Cut: Ok, I swear Lu’s been peeking at Bardugo’s notes for Darky. Hot, mysterious, high-profile leader/boss guy with shrouded past? Check. Intense, innovative, idealistic intellect that he could use to take over countries with? Double check. Carefully but casually selected a seemingly nobody girl with special abilities and potential, ends up falling for her, hard, and flirts with her in a very coy, subtle, and VERY INTJ way? Triple check. Oh, and let’s not forget the mental and emotional link Darky and Alina had sounds remarkably similar to LINK WITH HIDEO? But, I’m not here to discuss character similarities. All that to say, Hideo is a complex, protective, guarded individual and 21 yo company head honcho who is basically a well-meaning-genius-who-goes-wrong-temporarily, and does everything he can for the sake of his family, his loved ones (including Emika, who he tries to protect numerous times, as well– and she, him. They are adorable, I’ll admit it. INTJ-INTP pairing, right there. Sigh….). Sold.

HideoTanaka

4. Nikolai Lantsov

MBTI Type: ENTP (100% certain)

Series: The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, Crooked Kingdom, and, soon, King of Scars, by Leigh Bardugo

Why He Made the Cut: Pirate… err, Privateer. Snarkiest man alive on the high seas, matey, and the most charismatic, too. He gives great, fairly sound advice, especially on politics. I think the only ones he’s failed to fully and successfully charm are Alina and the Darkling, who, on two different accounts, find him either somewhat annoying, or very annoying/a threat. Unlike his childish, perv father, and horrid half-brother, he actually cares about his country and its inhabitants, and is extremely loyal to them and his friends. Oh, and did I mention he’s an undercover Prince/now-King in disguise? I didn’t? Oh, well, there’s this, too…

“”Not bad looking?” said another voice. “He’s damnably handsome.”

Luchenko scowled. “Since when–“

“Brave in battle, smart as a whip.” Now the voice seemed to be coming from above us. Luchenko craned his neck, peering into the trees. “An excellent dancer,” said the voice. “Oh, and an even better shot.”

“Who–” Luchenko never got to finish. A blast rang out, and a tiny black hole appeared between his eyes.

I gasped. “Imposs-“

“Don’t say it,” muttered Mal.

Then chaos erupted. ” (excerpt from  Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo, pg. 119.)

I rest my case.

VolcraCake

(In honor of King of Scars, and the King of witty Scarcasm. Hope I’ve made ya proud, Leigh. 😉 )

5. AIDAN (Artificial Intelligence Defense Analytics System) 

MBTI Type: INTJ

Series: The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.

Why He/It Made the Cut:  AIDAN is technically a machine, a program, so as far as the story is concerned, and is one of those characters that I think was extremely well written, and well-developed, but at the same time, just because I like a character doesn’t mean I have to naturally agree with their worldview, and I definitely heavily disagree with the majority of AIDAN’s. Kristoff, the primary writer of AIDAN in particular, seems to have a natural knack for getting you to root for all the charmingly beasty AIs who’re seriously crushing on their human girl heroines (no, I’m not joking here). Even though it’s crazy and weird and kinda sorta unnatural. Just kinda sorta. (Read: <ERROR> I was so <ERROR> distraught when <ERROR> AIDAN did not get to <ERROR> confess his/it love <ERROR> to Kady that first time… <ERROR><ERROR>) He/it is just this… mechanized, artificial version of a classic INTJ. 90% logical, 10% emotional. A tough exoskeleton on the outside, softer wires and a heart-chip ready and willing to be broken (for Kady’s sake) on the inside. Never mind that he/it is a terror and a genius at getting people killed in a “merciful” way, if it means preserving Kady– and as much of his/its fleet– as possible. He/It will do anything he/it can to protect them, even if only by the most extreme means. He/It narrates much of the story, when it’s not in text/documented format, and shows a more artistic, very poetical side to him/it, and even referring to Kady as his/its “queen,” in a chess-sense, at one point. He/it tends to be a subtle romantic, but ultimately discloses his/its feelings for her at the end. T.T #WhyMustYouAuthorsBreakMyHeart

AIDAN

6. Lord Masrekah

MBTI Type: INTJ

Series: The Purification Era Series by Angie Grigaliunas

Why He Made the Cut: For a while, like Sorek, I didn’t with this guy. I just didn’t. He wasn’t quite as brutal with Rab as Sorek had been when he tested her fealty to rebellion, but I still got a vibe from him I wasn’t sure about. Turns out, again, we have another Darky-ish dude running around town square– albeit a blonder, more militarized version. 😉 His softer side does poke its head out with Ari, though, and we learn he genuinely regrets being a total BLEEP to Rab, but due to male-esque pride, won’t up and apologize to her for it (not that she’d believe him, anyways. LOL.). He’s clearly affectionate towards Ari, Rab’s younger sister (something Rab is not pleased about), but is well-meaning and respectful, as well as extremely protective of her (love that feature about INTJ dudes… SO LOYAL AND FREAKING PROTECTIVE, LIKE, “I DON’T WANT MY LOVED ONES AND MY SMOL CINNAMON ROLL BABIES TO GET HURT HERE BUT NEVER GONNA SAY THAT OUT LOUD K BYE” xD). Mas also, just like the Darkling, has something of a soft spot for animals, judging on his connection with his horse, Scourge. 🙂

Masrekah

7. Prince Zephryn Nightstalker

MBTI Type: INTJ

Series: The Ironfire Legacy Series by Janeen Ippolito (aka, “Janeen the Snark Queen” 😉 )

Why He Made the Cut: Evil genius-evil=Genius. MAJOR bookworm and recluse, yet caring and protective in his own dragonish, INTJ way. Love his bluntness, and willingness to stand up for Kesia, even when she’s the one cutting herself down. Definitely a brainiac and a constant knowledge-seeker; there’s no problem a book can’t help fix/advise on!

Zephryn

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Image Credit:

Cobalt Dragon

https://www.modelmayhem.com/JordonL

https://www.tumblr.com/search/kristoff%20quotes

https://www.tumblr.com/search/prince%20nikolai%20lantsov

 

 

http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/the-grisha-trilogy/images/36707139/title/darkling-photo

Story Rhymes, Purification Era Version, Part One

Story Rhymes, Purification Era Version, Part One

(Note: If you don’t know what the Purification Era series is, go back and read my previous post, or you will probably be majorly confused. Key word– “probably”.)

The Itzy Bitzy Itzalin (to the tune of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”)

The itzy bitzy itzalin

Climbed up the tower spout

Down came the arrows

To wash him out;

But then Lord Mas D

Gave orders to refrain,

And the itzy bitzy itzalin

Climbed up the wall again.

 

So Sore Sorek (to the tune of “Baa Baa Black Sheep)

So sore Sorek, have you any snark?

Yes sir, yes sir, bites more than my bark.

One for the rebels,

Several for my wife,

Quite a few for the Hul Lord

Who causes naught but strife;

So sore Sorek, have you any snark?

Yes sir, yes sir, bites more than my bark.

 

Ari Had a Little Mas (To the tune of “Mary had a Little Lamb”)

Ari had a little Mas

Little Mas, little Mas,

Ari had a little Mas,

Hair like a gold halo.

 

And everywhere that Ari went,

Ari went, Ari went,

Everywhere that Ari went,

Mas was certain to go.

 

He follow’d her to the stable one day

Stable one day, stable one day,

He follow’d her to the stable one day,

Because he makes the rules.

 

All this made Hikah sick with envy

Sick with envy, sick with envy,

All this made him sick with envy

To see her with Mr. Cool.

 

Hulcondans Are Falling Down (To the tune of “London Bridge is Falling Down”)

Hulcondans are falling down,

Falling down, falling down,

Hulcondans are falling down,

My fair Rabreah.

 

Tearing them down with

The rebellion,

The rebellion,

The rebellion,

Tearing them down with the rebellion,

My fair Rabreah.

 

But are they really

All so bad?

All so bad?

All so bad?

Are they really all so bad,

My fair Rabreah?

 

Work together, Huls and rebs

Huls and rebs,

Huls and rebs,

Work together, Huls and rebs,

My fair Rabreah.

 

POP! Goes the Question (To the tune of “Pop! Goes the Weasel”)

All around the town square

Sir Sorek chased Rabreah;

Sir Sorek thought ’twas all in fun,

POP! Goes the question!

 

This Old Hag (AKA, Rab and Ari’s Mother) (To the tune of, “This Old Man”)

This old hag, she had fun,

While her girls worked out in the sun,

But with a knick-knack, paddy whack,

Give Mas D a throne,

This old hag went –SMACK–into her brand new home.

 

Hey Diddle Diddle (P.E.S. Version)

Hey diddle diddle

Mas and widdle

Ari

Jumped over the moon,

Rabreah raged in seeing such a sight,

But Sorek ran off with her, too.

 

Hickory Dickory Dock (P.E.S. Version)

Hickory dickory dock,

Mas’s schedule raced around the clock,

When the clock chimed one,

Mas was already done.

Hickory dickory dock.

 

Hickory dickory dock,

Mas’s heart paced ’round the clock,

To see at nine

A young lady so divine,

Hickory dickory dock.

 

A Skipping, a Sowing (To the tune of, “A Tisket, a Tasket”)

A skipping, a sowing,

Two sisters all a-growing,

They vowed to be there for each other

All but them never knowing

Never knowing

Never knowing

Their love would become tested and owing.

 

I’ve Been Working on Rebellion (To the tune of, “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”)

I’ve been working on rebellion

All the livelong day

I’ve been working on rebellion

Just to make the Huls go away.

 

Can’t you hear the bell clanging?

Rise up so early in the morn,

Can’t you see Sorek’s secret message,

“Ember, don’t pop your corn.”

Don’t pop your corn,

Don’t pop your corn,

Ember, please don’t pop your corn,

Don’t pop your corn,

Don’t pop your corn,

Ember, please don’t pop your corn.

 

Someone’s in the bak’ry with Lion

Someone’s in the bak’ry, I know

Someone’s in the bak’ry with Lion,

Trying to become her beau.

 

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Image Credit: https://www.amazon.com/Sowing-Purification-Era-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01H1AMBNA

 

 

“The Purification Era” series: A Cleansing of Modern YA

“The Purification Era” series: A Cleansing of Modern YA

Hey, guys!

Yes, I meant it when I said I would start reviewing things more. To make it easier on myself (and probably on you), I’ll review series, or at least, chunks of series, a bit at a time, so less reading for you, less writing (but equal fangirling!) for me, overall, less time-consuming. Sound good? Good.

Lately, I’ve been reading a LOT of really, really good stuff. And when I say, “good stuff,” I don’t mean the popular, “on trend,” super publicized junk. *Some* (though certainly not all) of which gets a lot more attention than the story, world-building, crappy characters, etc, actually deserve.

Which breaks my heart, because I now know at LEAST three (maybe soon to be four!) either indie or self-pubbed authors. We’re not talking your average, run-of-the-mill, throw something, anything, onto CreateSpace and make a few bucks off Amazon. No. We’re talking writers whose word-smithing skills parallel the Suave Sabaa Tahir, the Brilliant Bardugo, the Amazing Amie Kaufman, the Magical Marie Lu. Easily.

Then why, might you be wondering, are these fantastical, equally talented authors often kept hidden in the dark? Simple: They are self- or indie-pubbed.

(Keep in mind, again, I do not do this for just any indie-or-self-pubbed. Only the ones who are very professional, and that I deem truly worthy. Not every self-or-indie-pubbed author I know will get advertised and recommended by me. That being said, I’ve extremely high standards, and am very, VERY picky!)

I view this as an incredibly unfair advantage to them, and think they deserve every bit as much love and attention as their more well-known counterparts. A few of these lovely authors include Janeen Ippolito (also head of Uncommon Universes Press), Sarah Delena White, and, more recently, Angie Grigaliunas. Janeen is more well-known in her territory for an interesting mix of supernatural, fantasy, steampunk, some snarky romance, and occasionally shifters (i.e., especially dragon-shifters, unicorn-shifters, and a cat-dragon, who will soon get a major say in another anthology 😉 ); Sarah, while incorporating fantasy and steampunk as well, seems to prefer traditional fae lore, along with traditional (and very chivalrous) romance; lastly, Angie’s style.

Angie’s is a nice, heady blend of fantasy, medieval dystopia, and some VERY snarky (but utterly adorable and fangirl-worthy) romance. Her writing is similar to that of Sabaa’s and even Veronica Roth’s, with drops of Bardugo here and there (especially when it comes to the MEN! *whistles*). I just wrapped up reading the first two books in her “Purification Era Series,” and the series was SO GOOD it mounted the top of my Fave YA List (Note: I need to make a post on fave YA series, and why)— beating the Shadow and Bone Trilogy by only a hair breadth. Which is HUGE, because not just ANY author can do that (although Marie Lu, Amie Kaufman, Janeen and Sarah all come dangerously close).

So, I am here to explain why.

And instead of giving a pros and cons like normal, I will just go on a mini-rant of things I liked, loved, and thought could be improved. Fair? Fair.

*MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD– READ AT YOUR OWN RISK*

First off, will say this: I do not recommend any of the YA series I read to anyone younger than 15. Tops. The Illuminae Files and this in particular, I do not recommend to anyone younger than 16 (if they are VERY mentally and emotionally mature– I know, so many teens think they are, but not all are. Trust me. Been there not too long ago, myself.) to 17, bare MINIMUM. (But I’ll get into why in just a bit.) There are just some things I’d rather not have young minds witnessing/picturing, before they reach a state of maturity. (Just as you normally wouldn’t let a five to twelve year old watch a slasher horror flick. Common sense. You don’t want to scar the poor kids for life or anything, right?)

I’m told there are a total of six-eight books, roughly, in this series, and while so far only two have been published, they are. Utterly. And. Jaw-droppingly. Superb. As in, for the most part, I cannot gush over these books enough. Here’s why:

*cue monkey on steroid noises off in the distance*

*clears throat to sound more professional, because that’s what proper reviewers do* Annnnyyywwaaaayyysss, I meant to say that, the world-building skills and character relationship skills in these books are just AMAZING. A. Maz. Ing. You have a complex political system of apparent protectors/oppressors (depends on whose side you view the situation from!), a stirring rebellion, combining some aspects from AEITA, The Giver, and the Shadow and Bone Trilogy alllll rolled into one fabulous package. Here’s what I absolutely adored about the series:

The issues it dealt with. I give her kudos for tackling what she did. Most book series wouldn’t go too in-depth with topics like sisterly love and protection (think similar to Frozen), an abusive parent, or overcoming personal struggles in order to even have a healthy relationship (more on that in a moment). Angie is not interested, for the most part, in fulfilling the character stereotypes. She is not interested in love triangles, or typical “weak to strong female” characters, “100% bad boy characters,” etc. Everyone has depth and meaning, complexity. Layers and layers of COMPLEXITY. I cannot harp enough on allll the YA series I’ve read where certain characters fall short of realism in that department; they may be the average guy or girl next door, but that is legit it. You don’t learn much of their hobbies, habits, fears, dreams for the future, worldviews, what it means to them to truly be human and be ALIVE. Most YA barely scratches this surface, and ends up disappointing me a bit in this area (the main exceptions being The Illuminae Files and The Shadow and Bone Trilogy). I loved how the characters were layered in this series. Different characters saw different sides to each other, brought OUT different sides to each other, challenged one another with questions like that.

And it was utterly terrific. 

The personal romantic struggle and the MEN! PHEW!!! OK, granted, I was warned in advance that Hul men were all super-genius, witty hotties, with secret lil soft sides. And, as we ALL know, THOSE are the kind of guys I end up falling for (in fiction, anyways). Initially, it took me some time for the Huls to grow on me, but I eventually added a certain INTJ Hul to my “NT Type List” (more on that in a different post– MBTI thing), along with the rebel leader, Sorek, who could EASILY give Nikolai Lantsov a run for his money, and have a battle of wits, with all the snark he’s shown us. In fact, if you loved the Nikolai snark in the Grishaverse, you will ADORE Sorek (although, I will guarantee you will hate him at first. But give him PLENTY of time– he grows on you. Like Nik, he tends to persona-shift to suit the needs of the circumstance, and, also like Nik, is also an ENTP!). I was HOWLING at all his playful (and often very flirtatious!) banter with Rabreah 90% of the time. Just splitting at the SEAMS laughing. While the other, more popular YA reads may have given me the occasional fangirly smirk, giggle, or laugh, none have made me outright laugh for AGES on end like Sorek does. And this book’s genre isn’t even comedy! 🙂 The other guy, Masrekah (who ironically reminds me of the Darkling a LOT… read and see why!), isn’t as outright WITTY persay, but has a very dry and sarcastic sense of humor, nontheless. He’s very calm, intelligent, calculated, and SEEMS cold… but you find out, like ALL good INTJs, that underneath that exoskeleton, there’s some well-guarded soft mushiness. (Especially for a particular young lady, whose name I shan’t reveal) This made me squeal in delight as much as Sorek’s interactions with Rab did.

All Imma say is: Quelling. Horseback riding scenes. That is all. xD 😀

And the romantic STRUGGLES. Again, we are not talking the stereotypical, often-used “romance triangle/rectangle/whatever shape is “in” ” nowadays. We’re talking a female MC, Rabreah, who has been sexually threatened, and who has an ardent fear of men (i.e., gets defensive when they get close or look at/touch her, thinks men are the dung of the earth, etc.). She has to physically, emotionally, and mentally JUMP OVER THAT HURDLE if she wants a relationship with So-and-So, a desire that comes into conflict frequently with said fear, so she’s constantly denying her attraction (but we ALL know otherwise 😉 😉 ). As for her little sister, Ariliah, well, Ari’s almost entangled in a deadly and dreaded romance triangle trope. Key word: Almost. Like many YA female protags, she’s a bit confused about who she wants, and initially, who would be best for her (and definitely vice versa). But unlike many, many, MANY female protags who heart-breakingly string guys along (looking at you, Katniss Everdeen, Bella Swan, Laia of Serra, etc…), playing both sides of the field, Ari doesn’t look at it that way for longer than maybe a few chapters, and makes her decision of who she wants to be with. I mean, I’ve read other whole books (and a half or more!) that take like half the series or longer to get that stuff all sorted out. It’s very tedious to me, unnecessary “soap opera drama”. Find a guy, a good guy, stick with him, move on. Ari, even as an INFP like Alina Starkov, knows what’s up and has a good bit of common sense with this whole situation. (Which is one of the many reasons I love my sweet lil cinnamon roll! T_T )

Grey “bad” guys. I remember once reading something Leigh Bardugo said, about not everyone being straight-up good and evil, one or the other– we’re all a mix of both. And for a while, as a Christian, I was unsure whether to agree or disagree (more in a future post!). But here, I would definitely say agree, and that it is portrayed in SEVERAL characters VERY realistically. Rab is kind-hearted, smart, and passionate, yet secretly seems to fear her passion for justice will turn her into something like her abusive mother. Sorek has to pretend to be one of his enemies in order to blend in and spy properly– even if that means doing questionable things. Masrekah reads, “grey and mysterious” ALL over, and even little Ari has her moments. This only adds a layer of complexity to Angie’s characters, a layer many characters in many YA novels would not touch.

The world-building. Angie excelled at this, and it was often the little things. The different, foreign lands, how the names and sounds of names were different, country to country. Different cultures. Itzalin and their story, their cultures. Fascinating.

Overall, if there was one or two things I would advise Angie to improve on, I’d say, add more detail and clarification, here and there. I had a tough time initially picturing the itzalin because of this (and for future readers, no, they do NOT resemble werewolves!). Some of the unclarified stuff tripped me up, a smidge. There was also one or two moments of convenience, where things *just happened* to be in play that way, but thankfully, those situations were relatively few and far between.

 

I give this series, so far, a 4.5 out of 5. 🙂 Way to go, Angie! Can’t wait to read the next installments!

Want to check out this fabulous series? Click here for more:

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Image Credit: https://www.amazon.com/Quelling-Young-Dystopian-Fantasy-Purification-ebook/dp/B07CVT9D6S

 

 

Out With The Old

Out With The Old

Hi, guys!! Me-sa back from Yisrael!!! 😊 So much happened; it seemed so surreal, and dreamlike… I seriously did not want to leave (seriously—on impulse, during our second—and very long—flight, I had to fight the impulse to tell the pilot to turn the plane around, and head back toward Tel Aviv!!). I learned a lot, and am now able to connect a lot of the land (i.e., En Gedi, Scythopolis, the “Sea” of Galilee, which is really just a massive lake…) to Biblical stories in my brain-head. Our guide, David, was wonderful—not only super informative and helpful, but considerate, friendly, and unafraid to say it like it was; he is a true Israeli, through and through.

Annnyyyywwwwhhhhoooo….

So, while we were there at our first hotel, an old friend of David’s came to visit us; like David, he too was a Messianic Jew. But he was also a pastor, and gave a powerfully inspiring message to us that night, one that I’ve been wrestling with, TONS, and reflecting on ever since.

You see, like most of us, even believers, he had his passions, his hobbies. Even before he got Saved, for instance, he loved going to the movies. Later on in life, he even became involved in martial arts (which REALLY got my attention!). But, he felt convicted about partaking in these things. Why?

My first thought and objection was going to be that we should be allowed to have harmless but gratifying passions or hobbies that we can enjoy doing from time, so as long as there’s nothing inherently wrong with them. But he brought up one very valid point: God asked him to compare how much time he spent doing his respective hobbies, and how much time the pastor spent with Him. For movies, the guy spent an unhealthy amount of time, like at least a few HOURS a DAY, on a DAILY basis, versus the fifteen minutes he gave God before bed each night.

Doesn’t seem quite fair, does it? Buuuutttt… It DOES seem STRIKINGLY familiar…  (*cough* Netflix… *cough*)

Now, as a fangirl, my primary guilty pleasure is my fandoms–my little, well, obsessions. It’s very easy for someone like me to get sucked up into a GOOD fandom, and start fangirling pretty hardcore (depending on what it is, after all). But, I think God’s been nudging me ever since that night, and has given me something of an ultimatum: Either I give them up completely, or like and enjoy BUT don’t idolize them.

Yes. I used the “I” word.

Because, if you really think about it, that’s what an obsession is, isn’t it? An idol. The light of your life, what you think and talk about the most, what you give the most time in your life to, willingly. Now, I am NOT saying school is necessarily an idol (for you fellow students, that should not be an excuse to NOT do your homework!), but I could see how it could become one, with competition for good grades, and constant pressure to do well. But with fandoms, it’s generally a LOT more obvious: Cosplayers, line-quoters (seriously, we should be quoting SCRIPTURE, not MOVIE/BOOK LINES, guys!!!), fantasizing about making out with a fictional boyfriend or girlfriend, you name it. They all sound idolatrous, and in fact I can think of at least TWO Scriptures that go against that last one (which I am equally guilty of committing, mind… And I’m sure you can guess who with…). It’s convicting, to say the least.

 

So what should we do about it?

If you’re anything like me, you likely have multiple fandoms. This doesn’t make it a super bad thing! You can still like stuff, and even fangirl/fanboy over it, to a degree. But it should not be your primary reason for living, nor should it consume your thoughts almost every waking 24 hrs. Jesus deserves that spot, guys, not a fandom. Not an earthly obsession. I’ve seen/heard about plenty of those obsessions taking a turn for the worse, and the end results aren’t pretty. It’s like how I’ve been with Harry Potter; I was too obsessed when I was younger, but now I just like and enjoy it, but am not “into” it. Sometimes, people are– literally or spiritually– scarred or damaged for life.

I would say that God is offering you the same ultimatum He has been offering me: Him, or the fandoms. We can’t worship both, as stated in Scripture. No human can serve two Masters, and sadly, I know a good many people who would not choose God (which breaks my heart, btw) over their fandoms. But! I think I know some who, when it boiled down to it, would. And I would encourage you to do the same.

 

They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

            Romans 1:25, NIV

 

            “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

            Luke 16:13, NIV

Love you guys, and I promise there will be more, soon.

~~O.R. Moore

ISRAELSELFIE

Me near the Western “Wailing” Wall in Jersusalem. More pics to come!

Cover picture of Yisraeli flag that I took at Masada.